Submitted: 12-26-2002 by jcaldeira
The CLC 17LT is a good general-purpose touring kayak for 160+ pound paddlers. Building this boat is a good way to obtain an attractive, lightweight (45 pound) touring kayak that is durable and more easily repaired that commercially-available fiberglass boats.
The CLC 17LT tracks very well and I find that it does not need a rudder or skeg at all if weight is distributed properly. The standard foam seat is very basic, and fine for me but my wife's legs go a little numb after paddling for an hour or more without additional thigh support.
Unless one is planning primarily on extended trips, the "LT" version is a welcome lower-profile boat with less wind resistance and less "coffin" look than the regular 17. The LT also allows a lower paddling stroke, but even an inch lower would be nicer. The cockpit is too roomy for my tastes, even with extra foam outfitting.
The kit that I bought from CLC was very complete, including bulkheads, hatches and other items that some other manufacturers sell as "add-ons". The instructions are clear, and CLC's bulletin board provides good building tips. The people at CLC were invariably friendly and helpful when I asked for advice.
First time builders should generally plan on 150 hours or more to produce this mahogany plywood boat, including a fair amount of "think" time. In addition to the price of the kit, the cost of varnish, brushes, rollers, gloves, sandpaper and tools can add a few hundred dollars to the total cost.
Although this kayak does not have the elegance of a strip-built boat, the ease and satisfaction from constructing, and the "ohhs" and "ahhs" from others also make the CLC 17LT very appealing.